Lancashire storm to victory
Warwickshire defied Middlesex's bowlers at Lord's to complete a brilliant victory. Losing Nick Knight early on, who had yesterday batted aggressively with Jim Troughton to set up the chase, followed soon after by Neil Carter and Tony Frost, Middlesex looked set for victory. But a stablising innings of 95 from Alex Loudon, and solid partnerships with Dougie Brown and the 21-year-old Luke Parker saw Warwickshire home by three wickets.
Gloucestershire lost 7 for 37 in pursuit of 411, as Hampshire completed victory by 178 runs. Shaun Udal, the off-spinner, took six of Gloucestershire's second innings wickets in a brilliant spell of controlled, economical bowling. At one point, Gloucestershire had a chance of at least eeking out a draw, when Ramnaresh Sarwan and and Matt Windows were at the crease. However, their promising partnership ended on 79, as Dimitri Mascarenhas took the wicket of Matt Windows - his first and only wicket of the match. Hampshire are placed second in Division One, trailing some way behind the leaders Kent.
Lancashire stormed to victory against Leicestershire to retain hopes of being promoted to Division One for the 2006 Championship. Resuming on 78 for 5, James Anderson had the Indian Dinesh Mongia caught behind, one of six catches for Warren Hegg, and five wickets for Anderson. Ottis Gibson and David Masters put on 44 for the ninth wicket - the second highest partnership of Leicestershire's innings - but it was too little too late, as they were dismissed for just 164.
Essex were grateful for Andy Flower's superb, undefeated innings of 132 to complete a victory over Durham. Overnight, they were well placed with Flower and Ronnie Irani established, but Durham's bowlers fought back well to restrict Essex's middle-order, continually picking up key wickets. Flower, though, could not be stopped, as he went on to score his fourth hundred, and his 1000th run, of the season. Despite losing their eighth wicket as victory beckoned, the 20-year-old Antonio Palladino hung around for ten balls to help Flower see Essex through. Despite this loss, only their second of the season, Durham still remain the leaders of Division Two. Essex are placed third, but have played two more matches than Yorkshire, who trail by just four points.
Ant Botha and Andy Gray, Derbyshire's spin twins, starred with the bat against Somerset as they led a lower order revival and left this match heading for a draw. The pair came together at 264 for 7, with the follow on looming, and proceeded to add 170. Botha fell nine runs short of his century, when he was bowled by Andrew Caddick, before Ian Blackwell declared with Gray unbeaten on 77. It was hard toil for the Somerset bowlers, Caddick sending down 40 overs for his four scalps. Somerset then crawled along in the final session - losing Matthew Wood for 10 - leaving the final day needing some innovative captaincy to make a result possible.
Ben Phillips and spinner Monty Panesar bowled Northamptonshire to a comprehensive victory over Worcestershire at New Road. Setting Worcestershire 360 to win, with two days left to play, only four batsmen could reach double figures; Ben Smith comfortably top-scoring with 92. Panesar hit the stumps three times in his haul of 4 for 40, including the key wickets of Smith and the South African Zander de Bruyn. Earlier, Northants had added a further 87 in their second innings of 386, David Sales finally falling for a brilliant 190.